For people attending job fairs there’s a lot of hope and excitement. They want to see what kind of jobs are out there and in what types of facilities. But what is a job fair like for the folks on the employers’ side of the table? Representatives of healthcare facilities and staffing agencies can be energized or they may just look at it as a long day of work sitting at a table.
CompHealth’s Kerry Wagner has helped healthcare facilities around the country find physicians for more than 20 years. She has also worked a lot of job fairs and seen what works and what doesn’t when you’re on the recruiting side. Here are Kerry’s tips for making the most of your next job fair and how to give yourself the best chance to find the perfect physicians for your facility.
1. Be outgoing
Job fairs can be long, so it may be tempting to sit back and let people come to you. However, if you really want to engage with potential hires, you need to stand up, make eye contact, say hello, and start conversations with the people walking by. Plus, being actively engaged makes the day go by a lot faster!
2. Focus on more than the job seekers
During lulls, make connections with other recruiters and facilities around you. Rather than thinking of them as competitors, look for ways you can work together and help each other. Most physicians are looking to work in specific parts of the country. If you collaborate with other facilities, you may be able to refer physicians to each other. For example, if your hospitals are in Texas and you speak with a doctor looking for jobs in California, it’s nice if you can say, “I know a great system in California; they are actually here on the next aisle over.” Of course while you’re connecting with other recruiters, be sure to make yourself scarce when an attendee visits their booth.
3. Put your phone away
Nothing turns off a potential new employee like being ignored. Even if things are slow, don’t pull out the phone and start checking email. If someone is interested in your facility but sees you on your phone, the chances of them approaching are slim. But if you’re attentive and watching people instead of your phone, they will know you are ready to answer questions.
4. Stay till the end
It can be tempting to start cleaning up the booth 30 minutes or an hour before the official ending time. You’ve probably already seen everyone who’s interested, right? Wrong! Kerry has found many top prospects aren’t able to get to the fair until the very end. These people are usually dedicated to their employers/residency/schooling, which is the reason they were only able to slip in at the end. They are often some of the best qualified and most interested candidates. You will never find them if you have already packed up.
5. Put yourself in the position of the job seekers
While this may be job fair number 100 for you, it may be the very first and only job fair for many of the physicians attending. It’s important to remember that attendees are looking to make a major life decision, so you should be there to help them on their way. Don’t think about the fair as something you have to do, but rather as something that allows you to really help others.
6. Partner with placement agencies to get more referrals
Placement agencies, like CompHealth, are at job fairs to offer alternatives to physicians looking for jobs. They’re not there to try and steal your candidates away. Agencies offer options like locum tenens positions and permanent placements for smaller facilities or other areas that don’t have a presence at the fair. The placement agencies can actually be a great source of referrals if you have built relationships with them. Kerry often finds herself talking to physicians looking for a specific job. If she knows of a hospital system that would be a good fit, she sends them right to that facility’s booth.
7. Utilize attendee lists
Sometimes a job fair may feel like it was ineffective or a waste of your time. While you may not get a lot of physicians coming by your booth, you usually do get access to the list of all the attendees. Use that list to reach out the physicians who attended. You can reference the job fair and let them know about the positions you have to offer. Kerry has found that she often sees better results from contacts made through attendee lists than those she met in person.
Make sure you follow-up with everyone you spoke to. Even if it’s just an email and a single phone call, let the people know that you are there. This is especially important if you were speaking with residents or fellows who may not be ready for a job right now, but will be looking for something permanent in the next few months or years.
Job fairs can be challenging. If you want more tips or advice for your specific situation, feel free to reach out to Kerry directly. She’s always happy to answer questions and give advice. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.